This webpage provides information about Empty Properties within the Charnwood Borough.
Please check to see if your FOI request is answered below before submitting a new request.
Empty Residential Properties
The Council does hold information about empty residential properties in the borough, through our Council Tax Records, and may also hold information about some properties which are in disrepair though Council Tax discounts awarded, or where they are working with Private Sector Housing team; however we are unable to provide the details of these properties, as the information is exempt from disclosure under sections 40(3) and 31(1)(a) of the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA).
Section 40 of the FOIA covers requests where the information is classed as Personal Information; this is defined as any information relating to an identifiable person who can be directly or indirectly identified in particular by reference to an identifier. Addresses are classed a personal data as it is possible to identify the owner of the property address.
The exemption under Section 40 (3) is engaged if the processing of personal data in response to a request would breach one or more of the data protection principles. The first data protection principle as set out in the General Data Protection Regulation article 5, states - Personal data shall be processed lawfully, fairly and in a transparent manner.
In this case the Council considers that individuals had supplied information about their empty properties to the council purely for the council’s use, for Council Tax purposes. They had no expectation that the information would be disclosed to the wider public; therefore, it would be unfair to disclose this information.
We also consider that to obtain information for one statutory process and then re-use it for another purpose, without informing the owner of the data, would breach this principle, as we have not been transparent.
This is an absolute exemption.
The Council believes that providing the addresses of empty properties could also lead to vandalism, squatting and criminal actions in respect of these properties.
The exemption under Section 31 (1)(a) relates to Law enforcement and is engaged when disclosure of the information under this Act would, or would be likely to, prejudice the prevention or detection of crime. As Section 31(1) is a qualified exemption, we are also required to decide, on a case by case basis, whether the public interest in maintaining this exemption outweighs the public interest in its disclosure. The Information Commissioner has suggested that the factors that would weigh in favour of disclosure would include:
- Furthering the understanding and participation in the public debate of issues of the day.
- Promoting accountability and transparency by public authorities for decisions taken by them.
- Promoting accountability and transparency in the spending of public money.
- Allowing individuals, companies and other bodies to understand decisions made by public authorities affecting their lives.
- Bringing to light information affecting public health and safety.
Given the nature of the exemption in this case, it is our opinion that the first factor, would weigh in favour of disclosure, however we believe that this does not outweigh the exemption for the prevention of crime. For these reasons we are not able to supply the information requested.
For more information about what the Council is doing out empty homes, please view our Empty Homes strategy.
Last updated: Fri 4th August, 2023 @ 14:28